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Modifiable risk factors can be manipulated to reduce the risk of diabetes: HMC doctor

Modifiable risk factors
can be manipulated
to reduce the risk of 
diabetes: HMC doctor

Catherine W Gichuki
The modifiable risk factors for diabetes mellitus can be manipulated to reduce the chances of becoming diabetic, a Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) doctor has said.
The modifiable risk factors are such as body weight, sedentary lifestyle, smoking etc.
Speaking in a series of videos aimed at raising awareness of diabetes, HMC Senior Consultant, Endocrine Division, Department of Internal Medicine, Dr Buthaina Ibrahim said there are two kinds of diabetes risk factors -- modifiable and non-modifiable.
She explained that the non-modifiable risk factors are age, family history, history of coronary artery disease, history of gestational diabetes, and polycystic ovary disease, among others.
“If you are more than 45 years old, you have more risks of having diabetes. If your mother or father is diabetic, you have a higher chance of having diabetes,” she said. According to her, the non-modifiable risk factors cannot be changed hence one has to take the modifiable risk factors seriously.
“People need to reduce modifiable risk factors such as body weight and if the Body Mass Index is more than 25, one has to work on how to get it reduced,” Dr Ibrahim said.
She said that one also needs to be physically active to reduce the chances of becoming diabetic.
“If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, not moving a lot because of the type of job, you need to keep your body more active. In addition, if you have a history of high cholesterol and high blood pressure, you should be treated,” she advised.
Dr Ibrahim added that smoking is one of the risk factors that can be modified to reduce the risk of becoming diabetic.
According to her, diabetes can present itself in a variety of ways from asymptomatic to severe symptoms.
“Asymptomatic is usually with mild hyperglycemia and patients will not feel any symptoms. Hence, it is discovered incidentally. Mild to moderate hyperglycemia can lead to certain symptoms like drinking a lot of water, urinating a lot, going to the washroom more than two times at night to urinate, feeling hungry (eating too much) and in spite of that, the person loses weight. The person also feels tired and sometimes has blurred vision,” Dr Ibrahim said.
She said in severe hyperglycemia, there is altered level of consciousness, lack of concentration and inability to see a little far, headache and sometimes severe symptoms like coma and the patient might need to go to emergency.
“The symptoms depend on how high the sugar is in the blood. This will represent the symptoms,” she said.